By V. Gardea Woodson, LINA USA Correspondent
The Liberian Association of Pennsylvania (LAP), in collaboration with the Liberian Embassy in Washington DC and the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, will celebrate Liberia’s 167th Independence Day in Pennsylvania.
A LAP release issued Thursday said the celebration in Philadelphia will be the first of its kind, as the Liberian Embassy will officially move the traditional independence celebration from Washington, D. C. to Pennsylvania to celebrate with all Liberians and well-wishers from all over the United States in the spirit of unity and community building.
The release quoted the Independence Day Planning Committee as saying that the three-day weekend celebration will commence on Friday, July 25, with a Welcome Reception, to be followed by the Miss Liberia USA Beauty Pageant at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott Hotel.
On Saturday, July 26, the release noted, all roads will lead to the Bensalem High School football stadium for a fun-filled Family Day, which will include children activities, a cultural extravaganza and the traditional Barrolle versus Invincible Eleven soccer match.
The release pointed out that the day time activities will be followed by the Independence Gala at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott Hotel with Liberia's Ambassador to the United States Jeremiah Sulunteh, delivering the keynote address.
According to the release, dignitaries to grace the occasion include: Pennsylvania State Senator, Anthony H. Williams; State Representatives Roanal G. Waters and Margo Davidson; Philadelphia Council Woman, Jannie Blackwell; Upper Darby Mayor, Thomas N. Micozzie; Upper Darby Superintendent of Police, Mike Chitwood; and honorary guests Steven C. Graham of Graham Partners; and Attorney Mike Slotznick of the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group.
The release explained that Liberian R&B Artist Chris Deshield and Pop Artist G-Rize, Yung Muse, Saga AP and Alphani Douki will entertain the guests at all events.
The celebration will be climaxed on Sunday, July 27, with an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and a Community Picnic at the Victory Harvest International Church.
As part of its goal to ensure the success of the celebration, the Planning Committee has reached out to all Liberian organizations operating in Pennsylvania and its surroundings to form part of this unique occasion, the release said.
“All Liberian organizations have pledged their unflinching support for the 167th Independence celebration and have made plans to be in attendance at all events. The committee is therefore calling on all friends of Liberia, the media, and members of the general public to join with Liberians in celebrating our 167th Independence and promoting cross-cultural understanding, relationship and unity among all of us”, the release said.
It also said Pennsylvania is home to more than 30,000 Liberians with a history of making significant educational, cultural, health, faith-based, social and economic contributions to the well-being and progress of their communities in general and the State of Pennsylvania in particular.